Atlanta: Kyle Busch race report

Wauters Call to Pit, Wheels in Win for Busch and Ballew Hampton, GA (March 8, 2008)-A last minute decision to pit for four tires during a yellow flag rain delay sets up Kyle "Rowdy" Busch to bring home his third win in three starts at the...

Wauters Call to Pit, Wheels in Win for Busch and Ballew

Hampton, GA (March 8, 2008)-A last minute decision to pit for four tires during a yellow flag rain delay sets up Kyle "Rowdy" Busch to bring home his third win in three starts at the Atlanta Motor Speedway Friday night in the running of the American Commercial Lines 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race for Billy Ballew Motorsports.

Veteran NASCAR crew chief Richie Wauters brought Busch down for four tires and fuel on lap 112 giving up second place and sending the rest of the field into catch-up mode. This call set up the win for Busch in a six lap shootout in the No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts Toyota Tundra.

Busch dominated from the start of the 130 lap, 200.2 mile race advancing from his third place position on the starting grid to taking the lead by the time lap one was counted. Although Busch was bottoming out in the No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts Toyota Tundra during qualifying and the beginning laps of the race, he was able to play cat and mouse with reigning NCTS Champion Ron Hornaday trading the lead back and forth. But on lap 20 when the caution flew, the team knew they'd have a lengthy pit stop in order to raise the truck. Busch came down pit lane on lap 21 to make the anticipated pit stop in order to raise the race truck. The Billy Ballew Motorsports crew opened the hood putting rounds in front springs to raise the body of the truck off the ground and took on four tires. Busch returned to pit road at the one to go signal for the restart to top off with fuel and for one further track bar adjustment. This stop gave the team a three lap advantage of Sonoco fuel over the other competitors.

"We needed to get rounds in the front of this truck," Busch said. "We were dragging all the way around in qualifying. The guys on pit road did a great job tonight. We had the hood up on the truck. We had the track bar down eight rounds. We had four rounds in the left rear. I don't even know what else we did."

The stop put Busch in the 23rd place position but he didn't stay there for long, successfully passing several trucks on the apron of the race track. Busch again went to make more passes on the apron when Colin Braun in the No. 6 truck had moved down the track, to get to the pit lane due to a flat tire. Busch tried to go low around him but slightly tapped him sending Braun into a spin. Busch continued and Braun regained control of the truck without the caution flag having to fly.

"There were a couple of apron shots," Busch said. "Go where they are not; so I went down on the apron and she stuck. I tried making a move on the apron of (turn) three and that was a little stupid. But I'm glad the No. 6 truck ended up being alright. I'm not sure if he had problems or what it was but all of a sudden I had nowhere to go. I was going to ether run into the back of him or go low and I just edged up on him and turned him sideways."

Busch continued forward through the pack using the high side of the track to pass the other competitors gaining a total of 11 spots in a 10 lap run. When caution returned on the track at lap 42, Busch came down pit road for just fuel and adjustments. Crew chief Wauters call to not take tires moved Busch up to the fourth position for the restart on lap 45. Again Busch didn't stay there for long when he picked up the second place position in a three-wide race putting him right behind the leader Ron Hornaday. Hornaday and Busch again traded the lead running close times on the track.

An extended caution free period forced the teams to come down pit lane again for green flag service. Busch was extremely loose and had fallen back to the fourth position when he came in for his pit stop on lap 91. He asked for rounds into the right rear reporting being free and having handling issues in the corners.

After the cycle of stops completed, Busch found himself back in the second place position, when the predicted inclement weather moved in. A small shower on the track forced a yellow flag caution where crew chief Wauters made the race winning call to come down for four tires and fuel. Busch in the pit stall, asked for some last minute rounds in the back of the No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts/RedTop Auto Auction Toyota Tundra. The other leaders who didn't pit with Busch in fear the rain would continue, were forced to pit to compete with the young driving Phenom on lap on 113.

Busch restarted third after two trucks stayed out for position. At the restart, Busch was able to overcome the competition regaining the lead on lap 116. Rain again began to fall, harder this time, putting the trucks on pit road for a nearly 10-minute red flag delay. The rain stopped allowing the track to dry and setting up a six lap shoot-out to the checkered flag.

Busch had the truck to beat and never lost the lead when the green flag again appeared on lap 124 crossing the checkered flags with back to back wins in the series. Busch also won at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California two weeks ago with the same chassis, No. 11. This was Busch's third win in three starts for Georgia native Ballew in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Busch increased his 2008 Championship Points lead to 72 points over former Champion Todd Bodine.

"I have to thank Miccosukee Resorts for coming on board tonight. We're trying to get Billy Ballew a major sponsor -- so if you really want to help out, we'll take it. I have to thank NOS Energy Drink and all these guys at Billy Ballew Motorsports."

Busch dedicated the victory to his Kyle Busch Foundation newly adopted Orphanage, Carrie Steele-Pitts Home. Busch spent Thursday with the children and with the help of M&M's they came to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to see their mentor win.

"The Kyle Busch Foundation and M&Ms donated tickets to tonight's race to some kids so they could come out and watch us race. I'm glad we were able to win and I dedicate it to them. They were a lot of fun to hang out with on Thursday, when we were able to visit and hang out with them. That is what makes it happen for me."

Busch has adopted four Orphanages that the foundation supports in Charlotte, Michigan, Las Vegas and Atlanta. For more information on the Kyle Busch Foundation or how you can help, visit www.KyleBuschFoundation.org.

Busch will be back behind the wheel of the No. 51 Toyota Tundra at the Martinsville Speedway March 29, 2008. Busch's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and friend Denny Hamlin will pilot the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports entry at the series first short track race of the 2008 season.

Marc Mitchell who drives the No. 15 Hyprene Ergon truck for Ballew in 21 events finished 23rd in his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start at the 1.54-mile superspeedway.

-credit: bbm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing